Tuesday, April 24, 2018

eyes on the table

1 oz El Peloton de La Muerte Mezcal
1 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz St. Germain
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a single old fashioned glass, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make a drink that I had been scheming up for two of my long time regulars who have followed me since my Russell House Tavern days to my new gig at River Bar. Since I had been on a Byrrh kick and River Bar has it in their fridge, I figured that I ought to begin to analyze the ingredient like I did for Swedish punsch a year ago. When I recalled how well it paired with mezcal in the Ask the Dust, I remembered that the tip came from Haus Alpenz. Therefore, I messaged my friend Jake Parrott of Haus Alpenz for advice on how to use this quinquina. He recommended a few things including St. Germain. And from the previous night's Italian Job, I nicked the Aperol ingredient along with a chocolate element from my own Ask the Dust by way of bitters. Since Aperol and St. Germain have played well in cocktails like the Dunniette and Part-Time Lover, I scrawled down the above recipe as a first pass.
The combination worked rather well from a straw taste and my guests definitely seemed to approved. For a name, I later dubbed this one Eyes on the Table after a work by Spanish born surrealist artist Remedios Varo. Besides loving her work for quite a while, it was symbolically relevant given the French and Mexican ingredients since Varo fled to France during the Spanish Civil War and then to Mexico during the German Occupation of World War II.

Monday, April 23, 2018

italian job

3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
3/4 oz Aperol
2 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the oils from an orange twist and with a dehydrated orange wheel (orange twist and its oils).
Two Mondays ago, I decided to make one of the drinks that was published in Imbibe Magazine in late 2017 that was pushing me further towards buying a bottle of Byrrh. That recipe was the Italian Job crafted by Joseph Akhavan at Mabel in Paris, and it alluringly matched the quinquina with equal parts of funky Jamaican rum, Cocchi Americano, and Aperol. Once prepared, the Italian Job gave forth an orange aroma from the twist and Aperol along with rum funk on the nose. Next, grape and a grapefruit-orange note played well on the sip, and the swallow showcased the funky Smith & Cross colored by orange flavors with a dry, bitter quinine finish.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate Extra Rum (Denizen 8 Year)
3/4 oz Lemon Hart 151 Proof Demerara Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Falernum (1/2 oz Velvet)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass or Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a spent and scraped half lime shell containing a 151 proof rum-soaked crouton wick (El Dorado 151); ignite the rum.

Two Sundays ago, I opted to make a recipe from Blair Reynolds that I had spotted in a 2010 Fine Cooking Magazine article written by Camper English called the Lift-Off! Blair crafted this drink at Portland's Thatch Tiki Bar before he purchased the spot and converted it into Hale Pele in 2012. Overall, the recipe reminded me of a Jet Pilot with orange juice in place of the grapefruit (besides leaving out the absinthe), so I was curious as to how this substitution would play out. Once prepared, the Lift-Off! gave forth a dark rum and cinnamon aroma. Next, lime and orange notes on the sip were darkened by the rum duo's caramel, and most of the rum flavor came through on the swallow that packed a bit of alcoholic heat to it along with cinnamon and clove spice from the liqueur and syrup. As the ice melted over time, the balance mellowed out into something rather pleasant to drink that showcased the cherry and other notes found in Lemon Hart rather than the burn; however, the flavor profile was a bit murky due to the orange juice dampening down the flavors in the mix (unlike the effect of the grapefruit which allowed the various components to sing out more).

Saturday, April 21, 2018

24th and a half century

1 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane Quina
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Saturdays ago, I turned to a recipe that I had spotted on the BarNotes app for the 24th and a Half Century. The drink was crafted circa 2013 at Backbar in Somerville, MA, by Alex Homans as perhaps a riff on the tequila-containing 17th Century. Once prepared, the 24th and a Half Century gave forth a smoke, agave vegetal, and cinnamon bouquet to the nose. Next, grape and a richness from the syrup on the sip slid into smoke and agave flavors on the swallow with a quinine, cinnamon, and chocolate finish.

Friday, April 20, 2018

fishhook daiquiri

1 1/2 oz Plantation Dark Rum
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

The Gonzalez Cocktail a few nights before reminded me of the great combination of Maraschino-Punt e Mes that occurs in the Red Hook, and my mind drifted into thinking about a Daiquiri utilizing these two ingredients. The Daiquiri idea popped into my head since I have had ones that call for either of these two ingredients but not both. In terms of the Maraschino, the Trader Vic's Daiquiri from his 1946 book consists of Puerto Rican rum, Maraschino, sugar, and lime juice, and this reappeared in 1972 as the Kona Gold with Demerara rum and a touch of Herbsaint; the idea also can be found in the Hemingway and Rum Club Daiquiris. And with the Punt e Mes, I had success with it in a rhum agricole Daiquiri variation that I dubbed the Dakkar Grotto. So why not give the two of them a whirl in a single drink?
For a name, I made a nautical riff on the Redhook and named this one the Fishhook Daiquiri. For a rum, I considered both a funky Jamaican like Smith & Cross and a rhum agricole, but I ended up keeping it simple with Plantation Dark. In the glass, the dark rum greeted the nose along with lime and nutty cherry aromas. Next, crisp lime danced with darker notes from the grape and rum's caramel on the sip, and the swallow offered the elegant effect of dark rum being modulated by bitter-nutty flavors.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


2/3 Rye Whiskey (1 3/4 oz Old Overholt)
1/3 Byrrh (3/4 oz)
1/12 Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist.
One of the recipes that I had spotted in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 that called for Byrrh was the Carson which read much like a quinquina-for-vermouth version of the Brookyln Cocktail. Once stirred and strained two Thursdays ago, the Carson offered up lemon oil, nutty cherry, and hints of grape to the nose. Next, malt and grape came through on the sip, and the swallow presented rye with nutty cherry flavors flowing into orange ones; as the drink warmed up, the finish gained quinine and bitter orange notes. The end result reminded me a bit more of the Prospect Park than the Brooklyn, or perhaps it fell somewhere half way between the two.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

golden delicious

2 oz Apple Brandy (Boulard VSOP Calvados)
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice.
Two Wednesdays ago, I turned to A Spot at the Bar for my evening's refreshment. There, I was lured in by the Golden Delicious that was attributed to NYC bartender Jim Kearns as an apple-for-whiskey Gold Rush variation. As I later sleuthed the web, I learned that Jim had created this recipe at the Pegu Club in Fall 2006 using Laird's 7 1/2 Year Apple Brandy. Since apples and honey are a natural pairing, I decided to give this one a whirl. The apple from the Calvados rang out rather strongly in the nose along with floral notes from the honey. Next, the honey continued on into the sip where it was balanced by crisp lemon notes, and the swallow offered apple finishing tart from the lemon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


1 1/2 oz Famous Grouse Blended Scotch
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
3/4 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I finally bought a bottle of Byrrh Quinquina for the home bar, for I had stored up enough recipes to make the purchase feel worth while. To kick off the bottle, I selected a recipe from Manhattan's Amor y Amargo that was published in a Punch Drinks article in 2017. I was able to sleuth out that the recipe was crafted there by Chris Elford circa 2012, and I when I tagged Chris on my Instagram post, he replied, "The Casualty Cocktail was the start to my love affair with Scotch + Monty + chocolate. Still a flavor combo I crave."
Once prepared, the Casualty gave forth a bright orange oil aroma that countered the peat smoke and hints of grape and other fruit on the nose. Next, grape and malt mingled on the sip, and the swallow was a delightful Scotch, dark berry, and tangerine combination that ended with chocolate and woody bitterness on the finish.

Monday, April 16, 2018


2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Mondays ago, I reached for the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for a nightcap to round out the evening. There, in the gin section, was Phil Ward's 2008 tribute to Death & Co. bartender Jessica Gonzalez who started as a cocktail waitress and progressed to become their first female bartender. I had previously written about one of Jessica's drinks from that book called the Night Watch, and Phil's Gonzalez reminded me of a Martinez with Punt e Mes in place of the sweet vermouth.
Once stirred and strained, the Gonzalez offered up a juniper and fruity note from the Maraschino and grape to the nose. Next, grape and hints of cherry filled with sip, and the swallow showcased gin merging into a bitter cherry and spice. This combination of Punt e Mes and Maraschino immediately reminded me of the flavor backbone of Eastern Standard's Prospect Park.